The meeting between representatives of the CCHA and four Atlantic Hockey schools produced only discussion, according to statements released by both sides.
The sides met Tuesday on the Mercyhurst campus in Erie, Pa., amid a changing landscape for Division I men’s college hockey. In 2013, the CCHA will be reduced to six teams — possibly as few as three depending on other departures — as teams move to other conferences.
Canisius, Mercyhurst, Niagara and Robert Morris sent officials to the meeting with CCHA commissioner Fred Pletsch, Ferris State athletic director Perk Weisenburger and Bowling Green associate athletic director Jim Elsasser.
The Atlantic Hockey schools were represented by Canisius athletic director Bill Maher and associate athletic director John Maddock; Mercyhurst athletic director Joe Kimball and senior associate athletic director Aaron Kemp; Niagara athletic director Ed McLaughlin; and Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman.
“We had a very frank and open discussion with commissioner Pletsch and members of his executive committee about joining the CCHA,” a statement from the Atlantic Hockey schools said. “The CCHA offers several exciting opportunities for our institutions, however each of us feels the need to bring the information we discussed back to campus and discuss it with our school president and our hockey staff.
“In addition, we will need to have discussions with Atlantic Hockey commissioner Bob DeGregorio and his executive committee. Once we have completed our due diligence, we have agreed to meet at a future date to continue to explore our opportunities. At this point in time, no decisions have been made about leaving Atlantic Hockey or joining the CCHA.”
The CCHA has given its remaining schools a Sept. 30 deadline to declare their intention to leave the conference in 2013, a source told USCHO.
The four Atlantic Hockey schools involved in Tuesday’s meeting will reassess the makeup of the CCHA after Sept. 30 before making decisions on whether to join the league, the source said.
A statement from Pletsch read:
“We had very open and honest discussions with representatives of the four schools from the AHA. And we are committed to having further dialogue in the future to potentially accommodate those schools, while representing the interests of our member schools that are committed to staying in the CCHA for the 2013-14 season and beyond.”
In the summer of 2013, the CCHA will lose Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State to the Big Ten, Miami to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and Northern Michigan to the WCHA.
Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Alaska also have been linked to possible moves away from the CCHA.